***Disclaimer: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own. Just to be safe, this may contain some spoilers or spoiler-y hints.***
“A witch’s curse. An enchanted island. And the magic of Shakespeare.”
– Amber Elby, Cauldron’s Bubble
Cauldron’s Bubble Review
By: Yours truly – Rae
The thought of a Shakespeare influenced novel in high school would’ve filled me with dread. Perhaps I never truly understood the works of Shakespeare to really appreciate them. Or I wasn’t ready to enter his worlds and find the magic behind the older styled writing. In college, I was more open to his works yet apprehensive at to what I would find behind one of the greats in literature. The Cauldron’s Bubble delighted me, teased me, and goaded me into appreciating a section of literature I left unexplored. There is more to his worlds than I realized and how Elby managed to weave them together in a complex simplicity was delightful.
While to me I had trouble with the slowness of the buildup, the world itself was multi-leveled involving three of Shakespeare’s works and the behind the scenes looks at what was left unsaid in the actual published plays. Decoding that to mean – what could’ve happened to the characters in the sections that we weren’t given and is that important to know or speculate on. For me? Yes. I loved the idea of seeing more and an even deeper look at the mind of Shakespeare. Elby’s writing spoke to a younger audience, a younger teen than an older YA audience than I initially expected. I did have trouble connecting Alda and Dreng, but was still invested in their stories.
Alda is suffering from the loss of her grandmother who had been steadily losing her mind prior to her death. Who was Alda now? What was she going to do? Grieve sent her stumbling upon a whole new world – literally. Her grandmother’s rambles revealed secrets that had been kept from her and Alda has to navigate to find herself, who or rather what she was, and how to return home. No small task. Meanwhile, Dreng is a boy without a real name who has been on a ship for most of his life. He is afraid, troubled, and naïve to a world not at sea. His longing stirs up a rebellion that lands him in the adventure of a lifetime. When Alda and Dreng cross paths… what will happen? Can they save themselves or will they be forgotten among the chaos?
Cauldron’s Bubble is about two youths finding their own paths through mistrials, mistakes, and the looming difficulty of life and finding oneself. Oh! Not to mention there is pirates, witches, royalty, and magic – a win for sure. I would recommend this coming of age fantasy to anyone who appreciates a quick read with younger main characters and has an interest in the works of Shakespeare.
Need your copy of Cauldron’s Bubble before book two is released later this year? Order info can be found on Elby’s site.
Did you miss out on Elby’s interview? Click here to read it now!
My rating: 3/5